In 2010 I undertook with Michelle Slaughter (Avalon Archaeology) a broad survey at the Dry, an African American homesteading community, south of Manzanola, Colorado. During the Summer of 2011, with support from the University of Denver and a grant from the State Historical Fund, we expanded our research to include intensive archaeological survey, Ground Penetrating Radar, archival research and starting a public archaeology program. The project team included Jessica Unger, a Brown University MA student, and Jennifer Moon, a DU MA student. The research highlighted intensive survey, Ground Penetrating Radar and test excavation at Viola (Craig) Mitchell’s homestead. In addition, we interviewed descendants of Lulu Craig, one of the first settlers who arrived at The Dry from Nicodemus in 1915.
We are now analyzing data and expanding our research avenues to include the relationship that homesteaders had with Nicodemus (Kansas). As an example of public archaeology in action, I am particularly interested in establishing a close research relation with the descendant community. Thus far we have the support and participation of Mrs. Darlene Derbigny, Mrs. Alice McDonald and Mr. Bobby Craig from the Craig family, but we hope to include descendants of other families who lived and labored at The Dry. In addition, we hope that the relationship established with the local community in Rocky Ford, Manzanola and La Junta will develop into further collaborations, including a traveling exhibition that will share memories of homesteading at The Dry with local communities, be a forum to discuss local memories and develop programs presenting archaeology and local history to younger generations. I am looking forward to expand the participation of descendant families; if you or someone you know is a descendant of someone who lived at The Dry, please contact me at MDores.Cruz@du.edu.
You can learn more about The Dry by visiting the project's blog created by Jessica Unger (Brown University). We welcome comments and contributions, particularly from descendant families and people who may have direct connections with The Dry.
“Western Skies” Program (Colorado Springs NPR station):
The La Junta Tribune-Democrate:
This portfolio last updated: Oct 27, 2012 2:40:22 PM